Twice monthly, my blog 30 Days Out spotlights upcoming music shows and events of note, shining a light into some less well-lit corners, where some fascinating artists schedule performances. I do my best to give ample advance notice so that you can adjust your budget and calendar in a way that lets you get to the show.
In this roundup, there are two touring acts — one of that writes and plays classic guitar pop, another creating modern psych-folk — and two local acts, one serving up glam rock, the other featuring a woman who plays the spoons. Who says Asheville doesn’t have it all?
Artist: World Party
Venue: The Altamont Theatre
Date: Monday, July 6, 8 p.m.
Door: $17 advance / $20 day of show
In the studio, Welsh multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Karl Wallinger more or less is World Party, though the lineup of the performing band is in constant change. When the group visited Asheville in 2014, it was Wallinger plus an electric guitarist and fiddle player. But the group’s manager tells me that the musicians will “be hitting Asheville with a full band, having picked up long time members David Catlin-Birch and Brian MacLeod in San Francisco for the return across America.” So this will mark the first full-band World Party shows in a decade. The group’s infectious music folds in everything from power-pop to soul to funk, befitting the work of a man who cites Van Morrison, Sly Stone and The Beatles as major influences. My interview with Wallinger will run on my musoscribe blog ahead of the show. David Duffy opens.
Venue: The Mothlight
Date: Friday, June 12, 9:30 p.m.
Door: $10 advance / $12 day of show
Many modern bands happily apply the term “psychedelic” to their output. And while there’s nothing at all wrong with that, most of them traffic in a 1960s sensibility; they’re looking backward for their inspiration and ideas. The list of current-day group that do otherwise is relatively short. Brooklyn-based Woods applies a country/folk sensibility to its music, but the result isn’t exactly the acid-folk of Pearls Before Swine, Skip Spence or Japan’s Ghost. Instead, Woods composes modest yet sturdy pop songs, and then arrange them with flourishes of c&w (pedal steel guitar) and psychedelic (winsome vocals, melodic bass lines, sweeping organ washes, chiming Rickenbacker guitars). Using the language of marketing, one might say that Woods uses the “pull” approach (making music that invites the listener into the band’s world) rather than the more aggressive “push” approach. Joshua Carpenter and the Prey Tells open.
Artist: Wham Bam Bowie Band
Venue: Pisgah Brewing
Date: Saturday, June 13, 9 p.m.
Door: $8 advance, $10 day of show
Another local news outlet recently ran a story about the popularity of tribute acts; one look at (for example) The Orange Peel’s long-term calendar suggests that there’s a significant demand for this kind of thing, especially when the act being paid tribute is either broken up or no longer among the living. David Bowie is still very much alive, but the nature of his career is to always move forward, even if the styles he leaves behind still have plenty of life left in them. To honor those songs, Asheville has its own homegrown tribute act, The Wham Bam Bowie Band. Fronted by Mark Casson of The Cheeksters (he does an uncanny reading of Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie) and featuring sterling instrumental support that includes André Cholmondeley (a figure who’d be an Asheville man-about-town were he not so much in demand everywhere else), the WBBB gets its Bowie right. Local performances are relatively scarce, so catch one when you can.
Artist: Busker Performance featuring Abby the Spoon Lady and Josh Newton
Venue: Pack Square’s Sunday Music in the Park
Date: Sunday, June 28, 4 p.m.
Buskers have been in the local news a good bit lately. There’s no denying that the busking scene is an important part of what makes up Asheville’s unique character and flavor. The best ones are highly entertaining, and sometimes original. And buskers often give voice to musical traditions that don’t always find their way onto the stage. All that is part of what makes this busking-themed event so special. Sure, you can wander the streets of downtime — probably while you’re on your way somewhere else — and catch a few moments of busking. But this show gathers some of the better-known (and just plain better) ones together, gives them a stage and amplification, and gives you some nice lawn space to sit and enjoy it. And there’s beer available on a Sunday! What’s not to love?
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